The ten commandments of mobile loyalty (2/2)

The mobile channel accounted for more than a third of all global eCommerce purchases in the first quarter of 2015 [1]. In the same period, the app stores of IOS and Android jointly offered more than 2.5 billion mobile apps. Consumers spend more time with these apps than with the use of the desktop or the mobile web

The mobile channel accounted for more than a third of all global eCommerce purchases in the first quarter of 2015 [1]. In the same period, the app stores of IOS and Android jointly offered more than 2.5 billion mobile apps. Consumers spend more time with these apps than with the use of the desktop or the mobile web.

The mobile phone has become the main gateway to the life of the modern consumer.

Apps are ideally suited to strengthen the bond with your existing customers by offering relevant services or engaging in interaction. However, a large part of all downloaded apps is forgotten after short use, or simply never even downloaded [2].

The big question is: what conditions must brands fulfill with their apps in order to be able to enter into a lasting and self-reinforcing relationship with the customer?

To answer this question accurately, we analyzed a total of 35 successful apps from major retailers, banks, airlines and hotel chains. The accurate analysis of selected apps, and a large number of relevant studies, led to the definition of the ten important conditions for optimum mobile contact with modern consumers. We call these conditions the '10 Commandments of Mobile Loyalty '.

In a previous publication in July of this year, the first five 'commandments of mobile loyalty' were described. Herewith the commandments six to ten, enriched with a number of striking examples. If you want to receive all the ten commandments, you can request them here free of charge.

  1. Provide an easy way to redeem points

A quick, simple and clear way accessible way to redeem points saved for many consumers an important motivation to (continue to) participate in a loyalty program [11]. By integrating this essential step into the app, for example by enabling direct access to webshops or cashing in personalized offers, brands offer an optimal solution for this.

This significantly improves the user experience of the customer. And also increases his motivation to continue to save points, to continue using the app and to maintain or intensify his relationship with the brand.

Excellent example of a brand that has understood this is Starbucks. The coffee chain already introduced in 2009 a loyalty and payment option that can be used by passing a barcode on the mobile phone screen along a scanner. According to Starbucks itself, more than thirteen million of its customers (Q4 2014) have now placed the app on their phone, and this is used for sixteen percent of the 47 million weekly transactions. This success is partly because collecting and spending points ('stars') has been made very simple.

With each payment of a purchase with the app, Starbucks immediately adds the corresponding stars to the digital customer account. This is immediately visible on the homescreen. At the same time, the user also sees how many points he still needs for a reward, or to reach a next level within the loyalty program (eg Welcome, Green or Gold).

Upon reaching a certain number of points, the customer also receives notifications separately, for example that he can redeem his points for free consumption. He only needs to have the barcode generated by the app scanned by the barista.

  1. Make mobile payments easily possible

The mobile phone is the new wallet. Virtually all new smartphones nowadays are standard equipped with the necessary technology, and their use is rapidly increasing. Compared to a debit card payment with mobile phone is on average seven seconds faster, compared with cash even sixteen seconds. That saves time, effort and turnover. More and more brands are therefore taking the logical step of integrating a payment function into their app.

In this way they also take control of this important part of the customer experience, and the essential transaction data that occurs from this. Data with which brands can identify purchasing behavior of the customer even more accurately. With this knowledge, customer communication can be further personalized via the app, for example via targeted offers of the most relevant product at the right time.

Research also shows that the ability to pay in a mobile way has a reinforcing effect on the motivation of consumers to make use of discount coupons, and vice versa [12].

How important and relevant the addition of mobile payment to a branded app can be, according to the aforementioned example of Starbucks. As already mentioned, more than thirteen million of the customers of the American coffee chain now use the app for a total of sixteen percent of the 47 million weekly transactions.

According to well-founded estimates by Business Insider, the chain generated more than 1.5 billion dollar sales in 2014 with the mobile app [4]. In addition, the number of mobile transactions doubles every two years.

  1. Distribute your campaigns via the app

The effectiveness of large-scale e-mail campaigns is declining. This is one of the important reasons why brands are increasingly choosing to distribute their campaigns via the mobile channel. The mobile app offers numerous and versatile possibilities to do this in a creative and personal way.

Research at Coca Cola, Walmart, MasterCard and AT & T shows that a greater emphasis on the mobile channel leads to an important increase in the total ROI of campaigns, without the total budget having to be increased [13].

Subway is one of the brands that successfully use the opportunity to distribute targeted, creative and personalized campaigns through its app. Our own research by the restaurant chain showed that discount coupons distributed via customers were redeemed in one percent of the cases.

The discount codes that Subway distributed via its own app were redeemed nine times as much. In total, nine percent of all customers who received a discount code through their app reported to the restaurant chain cashier to redeem the offer.

The aforementioned Victoria's Secret distributes almost all of its campaigns through its own app. For example, the lingerie brand launched in early 2014 its Scavenger Hunt campaign. In it, users were challenged to scan a new photo every week, which alternately placed the brand on its own website, in its stores and on university grounds. Users who succeeded in scanning all photos were rewarded with small gifts and exclusive content. The campaign increased the total monthly sales of the brand by no less than 2 percent [14]

  1. Integrate the social media of the user

For many consumers, social media is an essential part of their (digital) life. Apps that succeed in making a connection between the user's own app and the social media activities of the user therefore take a big step in increasing their brand engagement [15].

Numerous appealing possibilities are available for this. For example, various clothing brand apps selected for our research make it possible to share collections and items of clothing via Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.

Important added value is the possibility to add the likes generated in this manner to the profile information of the user. This gives the brand the opportunity to compile a more accurate image of the user. Subsequent communication can thus be tailored more specifically to his needs and interests. Moreover, a social login makes it considerably easier to use the app or to use it, which further increases the user friendliness.

Some apps also offer the user the possibility to order directly viewed and viewed on social media. Excellent example in the Urban Outfitters app. Via the integrated photo service Instagram, the app shows, for example, images of models and consumers who wear their own clothes. To purchase the relevant garments, users can directly click through to the relevant part of the webshop integrated in the app.

  1. Make it possible to make purchases in the app

The number of purchases via the mobile channel is rising rapidly [16]. The consumer wants to be able to purchase at any suitable time, and counts on the fact that a brand facilitates this as easily and smoothly as possible. A mobile eCommerce platform that facilitates a seamless purchase option 24/7 therefore means no added extra, but an essential condition for optimal contact with the customer. Integrating this platform into your own app is a very effective and logical solution for this.

Brands that understand that well are Target, Amazon and Starbucks. With the retail chain Target app, users can scan product packages to be able to purchase online or store them for later use. When they shop online, they can have products delivered directly or reserved for collection at the store.

The Amazon Price Check App makes it possible to perform an online price check for photographed or scanned products or to look up product reviews. The user can then order these products directly online from Amazon.

Starbucks is currently working on a service that makes mobile ordering of coffee on location possible. Thanks to the accurate insight into purchase times, locations and products, the coffee chain is able to provide customers with highly relevant offers. "Dear customer, it is almost four o'clock. At the Starbucks office at 300 meters from your current location you can now get your daily latte! Or would you prefer us to just bring it to you? "

Conclusion

The mobile app is a very effective channel to provide consumers with information, entertainment, news, social content, product information, discount and other campaign communications. Thanks to the intrinsic functionalities of mobile phones, this communication can be inserted in terms of time and location. Analysis of the (customer) data generated by the mobile channel also enables accurate further harmonization with the personal preferences and needs of the consumer.

The Commandments of Mobile Loyalty are a powerful guideline for making optimal use of these possibilities. The application of all Commandments for each individual case is not a hard condition. The combination of different Commandments, in order to generate a valuable synergy in deepening the customer relationship, is emphatically. Brands that do that well can thus complete the entire customer journey from start to finish via their mobile application, while greatly enriching the important customer experience.

* ) Reference list

[11] Bond Brand Loyalty, 2015 Loyalty Report

[12] Research Accenture Payment Services (2013)

[13] MMA Cross Marketing Effectiveness Research (June 2015)

[14] App Annie & Internet Retailer Index (Q1 2014)

[15] Salesforce, Mobile Behavior Report, 2014

[16] Criteo State of Mobile Commerce Report, Q1 2015